Catskill Giant Ledge And Panther Mountain Hiking Guide Important Information
Yellow – 0.7 Miles
Blue – 2.6 Miles
Same trail going back – 3.3 Miles
Note: The information is just an approximation.
Start Of The Journey
Far out at the corners in a remote place by the outskirts of a staggering end of a Catskill mountain, there stood a hungry man waiting for people to come. Hungry as he maybe, he stood there watching cars go by, hoping one of them will have the people he will hike with. There was concern in his mind as the mountain blocked and detered signals from his phone. He paced back and forth, and after an hour had gone by with no one he could recognize, he decided to drive back and hope that his phone will get a few seconds of communication; just enough to send a message or two. A smile formed in his lips as relief came quickly when he saw a familiar car with familiar people.
The man’s worries turned into excitement as everyone prepared to hike the mountain. A different type of hunger came over him. It was a hunger for exploration and adventure as the mountain welcomed them with a carpet of scarlet, gold and green leaves. Shadows flickered as the branches swayed back and forth creating space and cracks above them for light to pass through. It was beautiful and romantic in a way.
Some say that the rate you fall in love is the same as the falling of the leaves as they danced their way to the earth. It would be fast, short, too quick to even form a thought and at the same time slow, graceful, as well as beautiful. The season of fall has always reminded me of love. I fall like the way the leaves fall to the earth. When did I start falling so fast and so deeply? I can never tell the exact moment nor time. I opened my eyes and woke up in the middle of the dance before I even knew what was going on. I fall without will nor remorse as if an unknown force like gravity takes a hold of everything about me. I lay there motionless on the ground unable to make sense of all the things that happened. All I could remember was the flight, it was beautiful, thrilling, and the word ‘happiness’ would not quite explain the smile on my face when I am in love with someone.
The day had been radiant and blue that to roam along the edges of a mountain and see the light strike through a hole in the sky, illuminating a patch of earth and the beautiful interlacing of red, green, orange, rust, and light piercing through the shadows, gave this weary traveler a sense of elegance and allure to the landscape before him. Seated along a ledge, with fresh wind cooling our bodies, we gazed through a vibrant vista, whose view was sustained by thousands and thousands of natural plant life that was made radiant by the colors that they adorned from green, yellow, gold, red, and different shades of orange.
The ledge was smooth and warm to the touch with a cool breeze passing us by from time to time. I sat there with droopy eyes wanting to fall asleep, my body acting on its own, wanting to fully enjoy the present moment and whatever nature had to give. I looked at the ledge again to admire the scenery, only to be interrupted by a scurrying energetic little animal. “Arf! Arf”, he said while looking at my backpack for food. The dog wore a blue hiking pack which made him look cute. I told him to sit, he sat. Told him to bark, he barked. Told him to play dead, he played dead. Told him to high five, gave me a high five with two paws. I told him to give me money, he took my phone and gave me directions to a bank. (I am just kidding with the bank) A very energetic and intelligent dog graced us with his presence. “What a cool dog”, I thought.
Just like that dog, I have always believed that people and things come into your life to teach you a lesson so that you can grow to become a better human being. It does not matter how long or how short they stay in your life. Just like the color of the leaves, things change so we can learn to let go and appreciate spring when new opportunities arrive, plans fail so that we will be thankful when they succeed, and just like the color of fall, good and beautiful things fall apart to make room for better things to come into your life.
Note: Multiple ledges and viewpoints along the trail
I staggered along the trail, breathing heavily with each movement, my body sweating from the activity, but I was progressing with each step, determined to reach the view point in Panther Mountain. I took off my jacket, hoping to cool myself and bring comfort to my body. Finally, we made it. I dropped my backpack carelessly at my feet. I took out my camera and asked a friend of mine to take a picture of me. The vista was small, cramped, and little ice crystals fell on my face. I counted maybe around 10, very small in numbers. The gala of multi colored trees that were once very large now seemed so small. Dark clouds approached us as the lingering sun peeked through the holes, shimmering the hills and mountains at the farthest reaches of my sight. A sea of orange, and red trees in front of me, and tiny snow flakes dropping from above like thousands of small candles scattered through out the valley and small pearls falling from the heavens reminding me that winter season was approaching. I loved it.
I love fall. If there is a God and he created Earth, then fall is the one season he created just for beauty. Fall has always reminded me of love for some reason. Maybe its the goofy hand knit sweaters, warm cup of chocolate, scarves and mittens, wood burning on a fireplace, movie nights, apple picking, or smell of pumpkin pies after dinner. I cannot explain it. However, I feel it like a kiss on the lips. You feel it on the lips then on to your tongue, then it tingles down your throat, as it reaches your chest, it tightens a little and finally to the stomach where you get the butterfly feeling. Fall is like that to me, there is just something about it.
Going Back Down – Fall Foliage
I remember the vibrant world I walked upon. The path painted with all kinds of beautiful gold, red, orange and brown and as I looked up, a crisp wind made the same colored leaves sway back and forth. The world was unfolding in vibrant colors, very romantic in a way. Fall has always been one of those seasons that do not last long enough. One day the scenery is beautiful and the next day, it is gone. It is a like passionate kiss of goodbye to the summer days and a pure beautiful love letter for the winter days to come. One of those things that reminds me to appreciate and be grateful for everything as they do not last forever.
The love for photography took a hold of me. I lost everyone, did not know where they went. I was walking back down the parking lot, taking my time, making sure I took pictures of every interesting thing I could find. I saw another person that love photography as well. She was more meticulous than I was; stopping at every second, at every corner. The footpath was beautiful with the scenery changing every minute. I took a picture of her without her knowing. Unfortunately, I did not set the camera setting to save at the best possible file type. So what I got was very blurry but at that moment the scenery was beautiful and forever stained in my memory.
I wanted to write about the scenery but I kept talking about love. There seems to be a battle going on between my brain and my heart. Unfortunately, I always root for the heart to win and my fingers seems to listen to the heart more as well. I have known lots of people who fell for each other because of hiking. There is something about being sweaty, stinky, hungry, and tired that makes people fall in love with each other. So I will conclude this guide with an advice: make friends, make lots of friends, get to know other people well, then pick one and fall in love with that person truly, madly, deeply, without will nor a thought of remorse, just like a leaf falling to the ground on a beautiful autumn day.